Oxy-fuel cutting is cutting mild steel using oxygen and fuel gas. It is a precise and popular method used by many welders. Like any metal-cutting process, though, it comes with risks – ones that every welder should know.
Oxy-fuel cutting can be dangerous, especially if the equipment is faulty or improperly used. Here are some of the biggest risks:
The gases emitted during the process, such as nitrous gases, can cause illness in the worker. They might feel light-headed, dizzy, and even pass out.
If exposed for too long, the worker can suffer from thermal and UV eye burns. Over time, it can affect cataracts and cause serious harm.
When working in a confined space, the worker can lose consciousness from asphyxiation.
During the oxy-fuel cutting process, you might see sparks and flames. Due to the heat, improper use may lead to a dire. Improper storage can also lead to combustion.
Oxy-fuel cutting is hot, and that can lead to heat stroke in the worker. That usually happens after a prolonged period of oxy-fuel cutting.
Now that you know the dangers of oxy-fuel cutting, it’s time to learn how to stay protected throughout the process.
One of the main reasons things go wrong with oxy-fuel cutting is machinery and equipment are not being stored or maintained correctly. Routinely check the oxygen valve, cylinder valves, adjusting screw, left-hand thread, and anything else you will use. You should also clear the work area and make sure it is fit for the work. By doing this, you ensure the work goes smoothly, from the gas flow rate to the actual cutting.
If any items, such as the oxygen cylinders, are not labelled – label them as soon as possible. Whether you or someone else uses them, it’s crucial that the correct gas/liquid/fuel gets used. Don’t rely on memory! You should also colour code the hoses.
A hot work permit helps ensure that the work is safe enough. For it to be acquired, the atmosphere must be tested to ensure it is not a hazard.
You must store all of your gas cylinders in an upright position. You should also ensure that oxygen and fuel are far apart, along with any other combustible material. For example, oxygen cylinders should be kept far away from acetylene cylinders. Otherwise, you risk explosion or fire.
Make sure you and any other workers wear personal protective equipment when cutting. It will include a face shield and gloves.
Whether attaching a regulator, using cutting torches, or letting out compressed air, you should always handle the machinery with care. Even if it’s your hundredth time cutting steel with oxy-fuel gas cutting, you should always stay alert.
Using oxy-fuel cutting systems safely is important to us here at Kerf Developments. If you have any questions about using our machines, do not hesitate to contact us.